Black and White Differences in Colorectal Cancer Screening and Screening Outcomes

A Narrative Review

Published in: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, Volume 30, Issue 1, pages 3–12 (2021). doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-1537

Posted on RAND.org on May 27, 2021

by Carolyn M. Rutter, Amy B. Knudsen, Jennifer S. Lin, Kathryn E. Bouskill

Read More

Access further information on this document at Cancer Epidemiology

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Racial disparities in colorectal cancer incidence are widely documented. There are two potential mechanisms for these disparities: differences in access to screening, including screening follow-up, and differences in underlying risk of colorectal cancer. We reviewed the literature for evidence of these two mechanisms. We show that higher colorectal cancer incidence in blacks relative to whites emerged only after the dissemination of screening and describe evidence of racial disparities in screening rates. In contrast to the strong evidence for differences in colorectal cancer screening utilization, there is limited evidence for racial differences in adenoma prevalence. In general, black and white patients who are screened have similar adenoma prevalence, though there is some evidence that advanced adenomas and adenomas in the proximal colon are somewhat more likely in black than white patients. We conclude that higher rates of colorectal cancer incidence among black patients are primarily driven by lower rates of colorectal cancer screening. Our findings highlight the need to increase black patients' access to quality screening to reduce colorectal cancer incidence and mortality.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.